As we go about our lives—the metaphorical going out and coming home—we contemplate what achievement is like for other people and, in that, we quantify what achievement means to us.
What might be a puny thing for us is massive for the next person; likewise, when we become triumphantly pleased others may scorn with disinterest our defining hour.
And still we’re reliably informed:
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
~Romans 12:15 (NRSV)
A right royal privilege it is to bear faithful witness to a celebration and, not less, genuine mourning. Both of these events, terrific and terrible, are encounters of God.
What is big for one person is a beautiful occasion to be present for. Because, in being present, we’re support.
What More Is Life About?
It seems that most of our lives are consumed in the mundane, and pleasantly so, with thought of the despicable, but we compare life with the magnificent, never truly thanking God for the things he doesn’t give us.
Every now and again, though, we’re faced by situations awesome or calamitous, delightful or dramatic; personally, or with others—our current focus.
When it is tumult we’re genuinely thankful it is another and not us; our support we give generously, thanking God every precious second. We weep with those who weep.
Then, again, there are situations of engorged bliss; this other person can hardly contain their excitement and it’s for us to beatify this moment by being happily present with them. We rejoice with those who rejoice.
What Is About Them Is About Us Also
The way we handle situations of others’ triumph and tragedy says a lot about ourselves and our ability to embrace humility for the moment.
Big issues are quantifiable at a personal level. Whatever this other person rates as big is, as far as they are concerned, and we too, big. To the degree we agree with them is the degree of our humility.
Whatever is ‘big’ for him or her needs to be big for us, too. In this way we show our humility and love. In this way we show we are useful. In this way we validate them as persons. In this way they become themselves in our presence. In this way intimacy is forged. And in this way, we are the hands and feet of Jesus.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.